German cabinet plans to join campaign against Islamic state in Syria

  Germany will commit up to 1,200 soldiers to support the international coalition fighting the militant group under the plan, which requires parliamentary approval. It also intends to send Tornado reconnaissance aircraft, tanker planes and a warship in support roles - but will not actively engage in combat. Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition has a large majority and approval looks assured. The parliament will hold a vote on Wednesday. France had requested Germany's help in the fight following the 13 November terror attacks in Paris which killed 130 people. The German cabinet's approval comes a day before British MPs vote on airstrikes against IS targets in Syria. US, French and Australian warplanes are already taking part in coalition airstrikes in Syria. Russia has also been bombing IS targets - but there has been concern it has mainly been targeting foreign-backed Syrian rebels. German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier acknowledged it could be a protracted fight.

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